California legislature passes bill aiming to protect children from abusers during custody disputes

Again and again, Ana Estevez warned officials that the man she was divorcing, Aramazd Andressian, was abusive and dangerous. Nevertheless, a Los Angeles County family court judge granted him shared custody of their 5-year-old son, Piqui.

One week later, on April 21, 2017, Andressian smothered the boy to death.

Engulfed by grief, Estevez, a former elementary-school principal, teamed up with her state senator, Susan Rubio, to craft legislation to prevent other children from being ordered into the custody of their abusers. This week, the California legislature passed that bill, known as “Piqui’s Law.”

After voting unanimously for passage on Wednesday, the state Assembly gave Estevez a standing ovation. Estevez also attended Thursday’s Senate vote, holding an urn containing Piqui’s ashes. That vote was unanimous, too.

The law, which will take effect unless it’s vetoed by the governor, establishes training on domestic and child abuse for custody judges and bars them from ordering children who resist contact with one of their parents into “reunification treatment” that cuts them off from the other parent.

Read more here.